Pure Intention

Setelah mengukur dan menimbang, lalu akhirnya memutuskan dengan cepat setelah nonton kajiannya Yaqeen (my fav! Bagi yang muslim, silakan coba cek social media-nya. Siapa tau cocok juga), tema tahun ini adalah pure intention. Selain pure, tentu intention-nya juga harus baik ya. Karena yang namanya amal, dinilainya dari niatnya.

Sejujurnya di akhir tahun 2021 kemarin ada yang bikin aku ‘tersentil’ sih. Seumur-umur punya Instagram, aku selalu prefer untuk bikin akunnya private. Creepy aja ngebayangin orang asing di luar sana bisa lihat aktivitasku yang aku post di story. Tapi di tahun 2020 kemarin aku mencoba untuk go public. Niatnya supaya kalau ngepost tentang kehamilan, anak, dan lain-lain, bisa lebih banyak orang yang baca. Mana tau jadi amal jariyah ya kan..

The downside of making my account public, yaa post yang iseng dan personal pun jadi ikutan bisa diakses banyak orang. I don’t really maintain my close friend’s list dan jarang juga gunain fitur share to close friend only (i know, my bad). Nah ceritanya, aku sempat ngepost sesuatu tanpa niat gimana-gimana, simply sharing about things that currently occupied me. Ternyata ada yang DM request dari seorang tak dikenal (turns out dia follow aku, tapi aku ngga kenal dia siapa.. seems like netizen aja).

Intinya niatku apa, tapi dia nangkepnya berbeda dan negatif. Regardless cara penyampaian dia yang nyelekit dan sok tau banget layaknya netizen +62, sebetulnya aku lebih jadi introspeksi juga sih. Bahwa niat kita belum tentu tersampaikan dengan baik ke orang. Terutama buat mereka yang ngga kenal kita dan ngga tau kita aslinya gimana, mudah banget untuk menafsirkan apa yang kita share di social media secara ngga tepat. Ya selain aku juga heran sih, kok dia peduli amat??

Jujur sejak kejadian itu jadi balikin ke akun private, karena creepy. Some strangers peeking on my instastory and go into that detail… Dan sejak kejadian itu pula semakin berpikir beberapa kali sebelum ngepost sesuatu – sebelum bales chat WA pun juga jadi suka hesitate. Perlu banget nanggepin ngga, kata-katanya udah oke atau belum, dan lain-lain.

Di sisi lain, masih tetep pengen banget sharing hal-hal yang insya Allah bermanfaat lewat social media. Ya mudah-mudahan efeknya tetep bisa berlipat ganda walaupun kontennya jadi eksklusif (duile).

Anyway intinya dari tulisan ini, sebenernya even when we have a pure and kind intention, other people might still get the wrong perception. Apalagi kalau niatnya ngga tepat? Bersyukur juga bahwa Allah menilai amal kita dari niat kita, bukan dari persepsi orang lain.

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Living for more than just I

27 years, eh? To be honest I don’t quite remember every details of my life. Perhaps most of the story has been forgotten. Yet there are some specific moments I could still recall, both good and bad ones. And I thank God for giving me the luxury to not take that as burdens to live. I carry them all merely as memories. The past is indeed aa part of me but it doesn’t have to determine who I am or who I would become.

A glimpse of my life in the past: for me, life was about  self-fulfillment. This year is different, though. Expecting a baby and the pandemic has shifted how I perceive life and achievements. I probably have had enough of self achievements – those which have very little to do with other people. Ticking the bucket list, reaching goals, etc. It’s not that I won’t grow anymore, my life is still way too far away from the word settling down. It’s more like, whatever I achieve for myself later in this life has to create a ripple for others; my children, my family, my friends, and people around me.

This world is so big and so full that it is too shallow to think that life is all about myself. I am so insignificant alone. Thus, it has to be more than just me. What I achieve should creates benefit, impact to other people. Not matter how small, even just a second of smile or a flash of hope.

This one brief notes is my pledge – I hope I will never forget. You might agree with me, you might not. And I don’t force my point of view to be appreciated by everyone. I just hope you guys have a good read this Sunday.. 🙂

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

The World that Doesn’t Revolve Around Us

This morning I contemplated as I read through my Twitter timeline. The heated topic was our minister of education who is said to be surprised by the inequality in the country, especially in terms of infrastructure and education. I don’t know whether the media framed him to be that surprised or he truly is that innocent. I tweeted, did he really just knew that not all regions in Indonesia has 24 hours electricity a day?

Many people correlated the minister being ignorant to the fact that he has spent his education overseas. I do not agree. It might be a factor, but it shouldn’t be. I have told my opinion through Twitter but I guess I want to talk about it a little deeper, thus I write this post. I won’t talk about the minister in person, I’m more interested in the context: we often forget or even unaware of the existence of the world that does not revolve around us.

It is a very big world out there and our life is just a small part, we collide with some other’s life sometimes and there are parts that we can never touch. Either it is too far or too irrelevant. I think it must be a component of education, how we must at least understand that those untouchable parts exist. Even better if we can interact with them. There, we build a sense of empathy.

We can live in the capital city and able to see the problem people in rural area is facing. We can be so educated and understand the way people who do not go to school think. We can be the socialite and know the struggle of the poor. The heart and the mind needs to be left open to things that are beyond our daily life.

My mother always teach me that a child, though lives comfortably, has to learn to strive too. No matter how much we put an effort to build a comfortable life for our kids, we must not forget that they have to understand the reality of life – there are other worlds that do not evolve around them. Long time ago I read a blog post from Adhitya Mulya (it’s an old post, I can’t seem to find it now) and what he said really stick to my head. Shortly, let the children understand both comfort and discomfort. For instance, we provide them with car and teach them to ride a public transportation, too. Make them understand that comfort and luxury is not compulsory but a choice. They can choose to take the uncomfortable path once in a while or often and there they will learn empathy. They can touch the part that is far from their everyday life and it opens their view of this world.

Ahh, I know the world that does not revolve around us includes those who are above the sky. It would be nice, too, to touch it once in a while 🙂

Love, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

A Ramadan Like No Other

I tend to think a lot every time I commute from Mampang to Cibubur (I do it once every week during weekend). Perhaps because I stay inside the house for too long. Or maybe because I see a lot of people on the street. A lot of people who hold various kind of stories in this time of corona – who are currently struggling more than they have ever before.

It’s the month of Ramadan. The one that feels like no other. The one that is different for everybody all over the world. There’s no tarawih prayer in the mosque. The takjil market might still be open but obviously it won’t be as crowded as the previous years. I’tikaf will be done inside the house. No bukber or sahur on the road this time around. This is Ramadan in pandemic.

The vibe is somewhat strange. It used to be a festive season, full of joy and togetherness. To me, it was 30 magical days, which then completed by the eid day – which should be even more joyful. But this year the eid must be different too, i suppose. The pandemic is not likely to finish yet.

I really hope next year things will already be back to normal. But since we’re all here now, let’s just make the best out of it. It’s the moment with loads of opportunities to give charity because many people need it, to do silaturahim to as many people as possible virtually, to allocate money we used to spend for new clothes or home decor to the greater goods, and of to have more time on our own to reflect and get closer to The Almighty.

As we’re in a month of abundant blessings, let’s pray that the world heals, we get through this, and the new normal turns us to a better person.

Happy fasting, Ramadan mubarak!

❤️, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Slow Paced Jakarta

I have been living in Jakarta for so many years now. The city has always been vibrant, packed, and fast paced. Everyday is a battle  for the citizens. Some has better fortune than the others, yet both surely are trying to make a living.

There are expats, executives, sellers, blue collars workers, housewives, and many other occupations in the city to run the economy. The weather might get worse some of the days but no one stops. From sunrise to late night, people roam around.

You can see the road is never empty except during holiday season. People will go out from Jakarta to get their mind, body, and soul refreshed. A getaway from the exhausting routine, some said. I told you the city is like a battlefield and to be out from here is to rest. To pause. To enjoy the victory.

Ah, but it’s different today. It’s different since weeks ago. The city is forced to slow down. Most people have to stay at home. The movement is limited. No large party interaction is allowed. Daily life in Jakarta has changed. I see the road today and it is so silent. It’s not like the city we used to live in.

It saddened me. As we all realize since the beginning, this policy will not benefit many. Those with daily jobs might lose their income. It will be a very hard time for them. Even harder because no one knows when this will end. On the other hand, this policy is needed to enable this situation to end sooner than later.

I wish God shows His justice to ensure those in need get the necessary donation from the government or philanthropists. I hope they live okay and healthy. I pray for the situation to get better. God please, help us all through this time, please bless us with your Rahman and Rahim. Please safe and guide us.

Living this new normal is not easy for everyone. Yet some of us live more comfortable than the others. For us with more power, take a look around, see if someone needs help and offer help. If there’s anything we can do, even the slightest thing, to help all of us recover, do it. The right time is now. We’re all in this together and we shall go hand in hand to get through this.

Jakarta might be slower today, but it’s not weak. We will recover.

❤️, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

On Leaving the Job You (partly) Love

Whoa it’s been a long time since my last post (last year, i guess?). It apparently took a big milestone in life to finally write again. And this part right here is dedicated to my fellow office mates.

Three years ain’t too short, I suppose, to make the decision to leave. I joined the company through a graduate program. Over the time, I learned a lot. The most valuable thing that I learned during my first year is about dealing with people and the work itself, how to structure our thinking every time there is an issue. How we have to clearly understand the whole story, make rooms for possible causes and impacts, analyze the case, and remain calm. I observed how my manager win people and I basically copied what she did over time. The achievement of the year was to gain trust from people I worked with, that I’m capable and I can even do more.

I got a great role model and a job that I love. Exactly on that year, I was thinking of building my career in the company.

Then things change in the second year. My teammates left, my manager left, so I was alone. I got a new manager – but it’s different. Even the organization structure changed. I once felt like sailing alone on the sea with no clear direction and sometimes the storm came. The good news is, I survived. Partly because the lessons I have learned during my first year and partly because I still love my job and partly because I have built a great friendship with my colleagues. Susah senang sama-sama is probably the most suitable phrase. I laughed a lot, even with all the struggles.

It was some sort of a good balance between everything – an ok job, an ok manager, and a good friendship. It was a little bit boring though, an ok job somehow does not spark me joy. But it was comfortable. The common sense told me not to have the intention to leave.

Here comes the third year, where the balance went off. I got great friends. The manager changed (again) and this time was different. No personal issue but I did not feel the ‘click’ with her. We had a very different way of working and solving problems. The ok job had become very mediocre. I often fed up by how often the same issue happened over and over again. And like most people do, I wanted something more. However, I was going nowhere further. Yet the most important thing I finally realized, during this year, was how the company operates is actually bothering me. It does not necessarily bad but it clearly does not suit my value. I believe that a vision of a company and how it is directed really influence the behavior of the employee. I don’t want to be there if things don’t change. Since then, with the combination of all thoughts and feelings, I wanted to leave.

To trace back, the first thought came in the first quarter of 2019. I have started looking for new opportunities ever since. I did interviews with several companies but there were no ‘yes’ answer from them. When I finally slowed down early this year, I got the good news. Good and unexpected, honestly. It’s funny how sometimes God answers our prayer in the most unexpected time. The lesson is don’t lose hope, guys.

This is my own story. I did not say that everyone in the company has the same experience and feeling. Fate has different stories to tell each person. So please don’t compare mine with yours (or them). To me, for now, the better place is out there (and who knows if I will ever come back?). To emphasize my reason to leave the company, it’s because in the end, I need the good little balance between everything. For the sake of my whole career, great friendship alone is not enough. I’m not (yet) settling down, not like this. I still want to move forward and push myself through.

Quick message on leaving a job, everyone has their own personal reason. So if one day you feel like you really need to go, be courageous to explore what’s out there. And don’t ever lose hope. When God knows it’s time for you to have new adventures, He will help you out. If leaving has never come across your mind, that’s totally fine. It means you already got what you want. And what you want is up to you. What’s important is that we always choose the option which serves ourselves best.

Adios, with lots of love..

Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Work-Life (Not) Balance

I used to believe in work-life balance. Years ago, it was one of the question I asked during an interview, “how’s the work-life balance in this company?” Turns out, it’s not the company that defines the work-life balance. It’s actually mine to choose.

Just several weeks ago I realized that there’s actually no such thing as a perfect balance between work and life. I now believe that we have to choose, to which degree do we want to excel in career, to contribute to the society, to socialize with friends, to manage the household and family, and of course to have a perfect me-time for ourselves. It all can happen in parallel, all at once, but the degree will vary. It depends on the priority of each person and the priority might change over time. Easy example, the level of priority before I got married was 30% career, 10% society, 20% friends, 30% family, and 10% me. Now the combination has changed: 25% career, 10% society, 10% friends, 35% family, and 20% me. I bet this will change again later when I have kids. However, there’s no good or bad combination that applies to all – it’s all relative. The parameter itself might be different from one person to another. I got 5, maybe other people have 8 or 3. Thus, no one should underestimate other people based on their chosen priority level (a full-time housewife thinks she’s better than a career woman or the other way around).

How do I come to this conclusion? First, I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and she said so. Second, I listened to the lecture from two directors in the company I work at. The first director used the term work-life balance, but she did not mention if she had one. She explained that she tries to make a quality time with her family amidst her busy career and organization life. Often she took her children to company or organization events – just to be able to spend time with them. The second director even said that he’s not the one to give advice regarding work-life balance, he’s just trying to look for the fun in everything he does. The similarity between them is that they have high priority level in career. Thus they try to squeeze in other things with the resources that left. The first director turned down a job that requires her to be out of town because she wants to be close to her family. Her priority level for family could be the second highest. She definitely does it all, in a combination of priority level that she believes is best for her.

What is more interesting is the statement of the second director, which I can’t seem to remember. But that very statement makes me realize, it is actually unfair to seek for a work-life balance, while work itself is actually a part of our life. How could we separate work from life, as if work is the bad guy and life is the good one. I don’t know how it’s like in other industry (like consulting or media or advertising that is famous for the stressful work culture), but to me, work is both sucks and fun. There are times where it gets really stressful and tiring. I hold a different value from the company. However, it drills my brain so it doesn’t stop thinking and learning. I have great friends at work, so it’s fun. To the extent of my current priority level combination, I’m good.

To realize that work-life balance is not about the work itself, I have never asked for it during an interview. I am more keen on knowing the value that the company has or its culture. And to realize that there’s no perfect balance of everything in life, I take things more lightly. Juggling all the little things in life is indeed a challenge, but stay calm and serene does help.

I hope with this new mindset, I can always embrace this life with excited feelings, on and on and on. (I hope you, too)

Love, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Adventure of a Lifetime

It’s funny how life works, I might actually have said this for many times. It’s just that this life never fails to surprise me (of course with both ups and downs) – although sometimes it is not so unexpected. I thought I’m not gonna be able to implement things that I specifically learned in my master degree – ever. But I actually am, the path is simply just not that instant.

This week I almost finish my Amatil X journey. Almost, because apparently my team was selected to continue to the final round of the program. This, actually, is something I wasn’t really hope for. I’ll tell you why.

The story goes way back to my postgraduate study in 2015. I studied Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship. In the first semester, one of the compulsory subject was High Tech Entrepreneurship. It taught me about how to build a tech startup. I enjoyed the class very much. Not only because the lecturer and the subject itself, but also because I was teamed up with amazing people. For the final project, the class was grouped into teams and we had to create our own startup proposal and to pitch our idea. I was in a team with 4 other students and I think we worked together very well. We won the pitching competition and I was very pleased with how the final proposal looked like.

The rest of the study in my master degree was about innovation and somewhat getting ourselves ready for startup environment. In the second semester, I had to work with one UK-based startup and helped them to understand the market better. That was the moment where I kind of reflecting what I learned in the High Tech Entrepreneurship class. Since then, I had a balanced view of startup environment. It wasn’t all cool.

So I came home to Indonesia, looking for a new job. I applied to several Jakarta-based startups and to other big companies as well. Finally I ended up working in an FMCG company. However, I’m actually curious of whether I can actually work in startup or even build one of my own. But I don’t quite have time to work on my startup idea while working as a full time employee. Slowly, the curiosity faded away. I will work in corporation and I don’t really mind of it.

Not so long ago, I decided that startup might not be for me. I can still implement all those stuffs I have learned back in university to a corporation, and that’s enough. Yet, life takes me to the path that can answer my curiosity. Amatil X.

The company I work for launched an intrapreneurship program. Employees went through 6 classes of startup thinking. Those who have an idea that can benefit the company can register for the Hackaton event. During the Hackaton, I was grouped into a team of 5 people and we had to define the problems we’re trying to solve, the solution we offer (which was our idea), and the benefit for the company. My team was selected to continue to the second round. Thus we went through another classes of creating a product. This week, we finally got the chance to do a pitch in front of the directors and investors, where they selected the best two ideas to continue the journey.

I value the experience very much. All the discussion, the thinking process, the chance to pitch in front of important people, those aren’t something all people can get. I’m very grateful, I know this is good for me. The drawback for me is because the process had totally drained my energy – more than ever. It’s not easy to work on an idea, it’s even harder to convince people that the idea is worthy. I salute all founders of startups that try to solve problems in various aspects in life. That is one tough job. However, I do believe that if the person is highly passionate about what he’s about to solve, it won’t be as tiring as how it affected me (I guess this validates more of how I am not so passionate about supply chain). But the ship has sailed, I gotta finish what I’ve started and keep doing the best that I can.

The thing that I want to highlight here is actually how life can take us to many different routes before finally reaching the destination – to where we really belong, to our true calling. And the road isn’t always straight. We might end up in a strange place several times, there probably shortcuts, and we can definitely get lost or just circling around a few times. I guess I haven’t reached my destination, there’s a lot to figure out. It’s a adventure of a lifetime, Coldplay said, we are diamonds taking shape.

Love, Atiqah Zulfa Naida

Writer’s block

Menulis itu butuh inspirasi dan semangat. Setiap kali aku merasa ngga punya ide nulis, aku lumayan frustrasi. Karena ada 2 hal yang bisa jadi penyebab: hidupku berjalan terlalu monoton dan mediocre sehingga aku ngga ada hal menarik untuk dibagi atau sesimpel aku males aja untuk menata kata-kata. Keduanya sama-sama ngga baik.

To realize how little I have been writing lately, aku jadi sadar beberapa hal yang perlu aku renungkan. Pertama, whether I have done something meaningful, mungkin ngga perlu setiap detik, jam, dan harinya. Even one meaningful thing in a week should be enough. Harusnya dengan itu aku bisa punya sesuatu untuk diceritakan. Ngga harus grande dan wow, dengan baca buku, diskusi, update berita terkini, membuat atau mengerjakan sesuatu, dan macam-macam kegiatan lainnya – yang penting ada makna yang bisa diambil. This will be my first homework: kembali belajar memaknai, meresapi hal-hal yang terjadi dalam hidupku. Maybe this time around, I had let it pass me just like that.

Kedua, was I being lazy all this time? If so, then why? Was I lack of ambition? Semenjak lulus dan kerja kantoran, rasanya agak sulit menemukan ambisi yang men-drive diri supaya terus berkembang. Pertanyaan “what’s next?” jadi sulit dijawab. Disiplin jadi PR kedua, harus rutin melakukan kegiatan yang baik. Contohnya olahraga, ikut kelas online, dan nulis blog. To start is one challenge, but to be consistent is one level up.

Ketiga, penting untuk selalu ingat purpose kita dalam hidup. Makanya purpose ini baiknya tertuang dalam sebuah tulisan yang bisa sering dibaca. Ketika mengingat kembali tujuan kita, biasanya bakal kembali semangat melakukan hal-hal yang bisa membawa kita ke tujuan tersebut.

Well, big homework for me. Semoga bisa pelan-pelan meningkatkan frekuensi menulis lagi. Mudah-mudahan tulisan kali ini ngga hanya jadi mediaku untuk rant about experiencing such writer’s block, tapi juga memberi inspirasi atau perspektif baru untuk siapapun yang baca. Cheers!

♥️, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Measuring Success

Pulang kantor kemarin papasan dengan rombongan satpam yang baru selesai briefing, mereka masuk shift 3 sepertinya. Pas lagi capek-capeknya begitu, ngeliat orang sumringah dan semangat kerja, jadi adem. Seperti terinspirasi oleh keceriaan mereka dan kelegowoan mereka. Banyak orang yang less fortunate tapi bahagianya sempurna.

Dulu sempat lihat di twitter, ada yang bilang hal seperti ini kurang tepat. Butuh pembanding kesulitan orang lain untuk merasa beruntung. Kenapa harus tunggu sadar ada orang yang lebih sulit hidupnya baru kita bisa bersyukur?

Well, aku setuju ngga setuju dengan pendapat ini.

Di satu sisi bersyukur itu wajib. Ngga bisa diganggu gugat, selama kita masih bernafas dan hidup.

Di lain sisi, banyak hal memang butuh indikator, parameter, dan benchmark. Termasuk kehidupan. Jadi keinget salah satu request temanku untuk nulis tentang measuring success. Let me try to explain how I see it.

Kesuksesan itu suatu hal yang personal sebetulnya. Definisi sukses seseorang ngga selalu sama dengan orang lainnya. Bisa jadi sama juga, ngga sedikit kan orang yang terinspirasi dari kesuksesan orang lain? Yang mutlak sama bagi siapapun, karena sukses ini adalah sebuah tujuan, menurutku harus ada parameternya. Jadi, pertama harus didefinisikan dulu sukses itu seperti apa dan indikatornya apa saja.

Gimana cara menentukan definisi sukses? Biasanya akan sangat relate dengan value yang dianut dalam hidup dan lingkungan. Bisa juga terinspirasi dari orang lain. Kalau aku pilih berdasarkan apa yang diatur agama (value), apa yang aku jalani saat ini, dan apa yang aku suka. Makna sukses yang kita tentukan ngga harus hanya satu, boleh banyak. Kita aja sering doa supaya sukses dunia dan akhirat.

Ada yang suksesnya adalah sekaya Bill Gates dan setenar personil BTS. Ada juga yang mau fokus di akhirat, jadi suksesnya adalah menghafal Alquran. Ada juga yang mencoba balance, mau jadi ahli sedekah dan astronot. Pokoknya macem-macem, tergantung masing-masing orang.

Tapi kita ngga bisa pungkiri bahwa ada beberapa definisi sukses yang diakui bersama oleh society. Misalnya, punya banyak uang, karir yang bagus, keluarga harmonis, dan dikenal banyak orang. Mau ngga mau dan suka tidak suka, ukuran ini sering dijadikan pembanding antara kesuksesan satu orang dengan orang lainnya. Despite everything, sebagai manusia biasa, kita juga pasti pernah membandingkan diri sendiri dengan orang lain berdasarkan parameter-parameter tersebut. Aku ngga naif dengan bilang kita harus deny semua hal itu. Manusiawi aja kok merasa galau, minder, dan lain-lain. It’s human. Yang perlu diingat, jangan sampai galau kelamaan dan minder berlebihan. Ada banyak parameter lain yang bisa kita gunakan untuk bangkit lagi dari rasa negatif itu. Selalu ingat kalau sukses itu personal goal, tergantung value apa yang kita anut. Define our own success and we don’t have to care about someone else’s.

Ibarat misal kita perusahaan makanan cepat saji. Kita punya value lingkungan hidup, dimana kita mengurangi penggunaan plastik. Ini goal kita as a single company. Tapi, di industri makanan cepat saji, parameter sukses yang diukur dan dibuat ranking adalah volume penjualan. Di mata industri, seberapa pun kita mengurangi penggunaan plastik does not matter. Yang penting jualannya. Sedangkan untuk perusahaan, less plastic itu sebuah goal dan kalau tercapai artinya sukses. Ngga dipungkiri juga, at some point pasti kita ingin mencapai volume penjualan yang tinggi dan meraih makna kesuksesan yang dianggap ‘standard’.

Pertanyaan mendasarnya, apakah sukses butuh pengakuan orang lain?

Last but not least, sukses itu kesannya mewah ya. Grande gitu. Menurutku, pencapaian yang simpel dan mudah bisa jadi sukses juga. Ini yang kita ngga boleh luput untuk kasih diri sendiri reward. Apa yang meningkat dari kita di tahun ini compared to tahun lalu? Apa skill yang kita kuasai hari ini tapi bulan lalu belum? Don’t be so hard on ourselves.

So now, selamat meraih sukses!

♥️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia